A CONTROVERSIAL green campaigner has been told he cannot be a “friend” of a valley being preserved as an historical site and wildlife sanctuary.
Friends of Rhydymwyn Valley are committed to protecting the flora and fauna of the Valley near Mold and its history – it was a wartime munitions factory producing deadly chemical weapons and did early work on the atom bomb.
But when Saltney town councillor Klaus Armstrong-Braun applied to become a friend and sent his £5 application, he was refused.
The chairman of the Friends, Robin Smith, has told Mr Armstrong-Braun in a letter: “I regret that following democratic consideration of your application at our last monthly meeting, we are unable to grant you membership. I am therefore returning your cheque with this letter.
“Our group enjoys a close working relationship with North East Wales Wildlife (NEWW) and the maintenance of this harmonious relationship is paramount.
“Our group understands that unfortunately your past relationship with NEWW may present issues. Additionally, our group has concerns regarding the negative publicity that you have from time to time attracted.
“While membership has not been granted, this will of course not prevent you from attending public events and activities in the reserve.”
Membership secretary David Williams said there were about 70-plus Friends and about 30 had been present when the application was considered. Most had opposed Cllr Armstrong-Braun’s membership with a couple voting for him.
Cllr Armstrong-Braun, who lives in Broughton, said the decision was “appalling” and described the accusation about him attracting negative publicity as “defamatory”.
He also disputed the voting figures and claimed nine had voted against him, two for him and six abstained.
He said: “I have been involved in campaigning on issues affecting the Rhydymwyn Valley for over 20 years because of the pollution stemming from its wartime activities. This organisation is supposed to be independent and impartial and I don’t regard this kind of behaviour as democratic.”
He said he wanted to look at the use of Defra grants spent in the Valley and said he was keen to promote the historical preservation of the site through the ancient monuments body Cadw, since he considered the historical significance of the site was more important than its value as a wildlife reserve.
The decision to block his membership would mean he could visit the site only as a guest of a Friend.
Mr Williams, however, pointed out members of the public did not have free access to the site and were usually there on accompanied tours and walks.